9/3 - I'm supremely restless right now. I want to focus on writing, grading, or reading, but I can't for some mysterious reason (maybe because I looked at too much internet porn as a youth). You'd think that I'd have gotten out all the restlessness at Muay Thai this afternoon, but no. I forced myself to go work out there today and somehow wound up in the group of people that ran 5km because they were too big of dicks to tell me where to turn off for the 3km route. The worst part about the run was the boredom. Their pace wasn't that fast, but it just got so incredibly tedious. I don't like running at all. By the time I started shadow boxing, my body was completely drained. Everything at Lanna Gym is done at your own pace, so whenever you feel like being done with shadow boxing (which doesn’t take long for me since I feel silly at this point with my novice technique swinging at the air and losing my balance), you can move onto hitting the bag. With this being my third day, I’m starting to feel a bit more comfortable hitting the bag. After the bag, then it’s time to jump in the ring with one of the trainers to hit the pads. Each trainer offers something different, and as I learned the hard way on my second day, the craziest looking trainer doesn’t so much let you hit the pads as make an ass out of you by parrying out of the way every time you swing only to pay you back with a smack to the face or kick to the stomach. Supposedly this is to teach the individual how to get angry, feel like they’re a helpless 8 year old getting bullied again in grade school, and maybe teach them how to take a hit and build up some endurance in the process. I wore a nice red line across my forehead from the pad as a souvenir all weekend.
Ben and Mark had already eaten dinner without me tonight because I didn't get back until after 6. Oh yes, good ole' Mark. I saw that guy around 7pm yesterday evening and he was in his room for the night watching Six Feet Under in the buff. Mark has an obsessive personality, and since being turned onto the HBO series last week, has purchased every season (bootleg of course, but still pricey nonetheless) and finished all 63 episodes (clocking in at approximately 53 minutes each) in under 12 days. It's amazing that he wonders why he had a migraine this morning.
Anyway, he said he wasn’t going out again for the evening, but as it turns out, on his way to fill up his big water bottle at the H20 supply place down the street, he bumped into two male tourists asking him if he knew anything about Chiang Mai. Only in Mark's world would they turn out to be gay partners with a propensity for threesomes. I think the conversation went something along the lines of, "You know Chiang Mai? What, you’re gay? How about we go back to our guesthouse and consummate this wonderful newfound bond!" And the rest is history.
I was left to my lonely self eating at Smoothie Blues. I ordered a tuna melt with avocado along with a mango/passion fruit/banana/yogurt smoothie to wash it all down, though I needed some water as well since smoothies aren’t exactly ideal for washing shit down. I did a little bit of grading that should’ve been done weeks ago, but it’s just so damn interminable that I have to spread it out like vegemite (very, very thin). Back in my room I made some more progress in “Kafka On the Shore” while listening to music (albeit only certain music is satisfactory for focusing – in this case it was Mirah). I'm liking the book, especially since reading the scene in which the 15 year old protagonist gets jerked off by some twenty-something year old girl, in the middle of which she suggests something along the lines of how great it would be if they were brother and sister.
Lights out. My restlessness extends well into the night – another day gone in the march toward infinity.
9/4 - There’s no Satit tomorrow for some reason, so I decided to try and have an enjoyable Tuesday evening, first by ordering a vanilla Kit Kat banana milkshake at Smoothie Blues in addition to a ham and cheese sandwich with added avocado. I ate with Ben and Erica while Mark came along for the ride and settled for a smoothie as he had already eaten earlier in the night. Not only had he eaten, but he’d just got done making sweet passionate love to one of the guys from the threesome while the partner was out shopping only to return a bit later as the passion was waning. Needless to say, the partner wasn't exactly thrilled to find that he’d been left out of the fun. I tell ya, Mark's got enough drama in his life to fill a country's worth of soap operas (I hear Bulgaria is knocking down his door).
Later on, Erica and I hopped on my mobile deathtrap (aka the Honda Dream circa 1992), weaving in and out of traffic without lights and a broken speedometer on our way to the North Gate Jazz Bar in the old city where we met up with Leah and her "friend" from Yale visiting for about 10 days. I also told this guy Joe that I work with (and who gave me the motorbike) I’d stop by the jazz bar. He’s been at CMU for almost four years now and it’s obvious he’s spent more than a healthy amount of time in Chiang Mai for a young American boy of 25. He’s leaving at the end of this semester, because in his words, “It’s time to finally grow up.” Joe’s friend Zero (yes, that’s his real name) was the MC for the night at the bar, as he is every Tuesday. The first thing that Zero ever said to Ben went something like this:
"Whuddya mean you're not drinking?"
"I'm pretty exhausted" Ben replied.
"Are you kidding me? It's not like you're poring over the Torah here."
We weren't sure if we heard Zero correctly because it was such an unusual thing to say. For some background on Zero, he's supposedly a half-Jewish, half-Polish, self-loathing anti-semite (at least in the words of Joe). As for Ben, when people meet him for the first time, they often make the mistake of assuming he's Jewish. He very possibly could be the most Jewish-looking non-Jew in the history of the world, though to his credit, he has been to a seder (and maybe Rosh Hashana dinner).
Tuesday nights at the jazz bar are supposed to be open mic night, but tonight wasn't so much an open mic night as a freestyle jazz session courtesy of the club's fairly talented regular performers. The crowd was comprised of mostly Westerners plus some 3rd and 4th year English students from CMU, who as it turns out, all think I'm gay with Ben because we're always seen together on campus. "What a shame," they said. "You're too sexy." I wasn't gonna argue.
The night got all the more interesting when Leah’s boy, Dave, decided to sign up as the only actual open mic performance. He had even brought along his guitar from home, but opted instead for the electric one offered by the venue’s regular guitarist for whom it successfully belted out adroit renditions of Herbie Hancock and other jazz greats. After some wisecracks from Zero about Dave hailing from Maine, “Yes Ladies and Gentleman, there is a state located north of New York” – Dave was made to promise he didn’t like Phish and wasn’t liable to start “jamming”. It was clear from the start that Dave was in trouble, especially when some of the regular musicians tried to back him up on drums and piano, only to massacre any iota of rhythm. The crowd wasn’t very amused being they wanted to hear the cool and familiar sounds off the jazz band, and some people even went as far to laugh raucously. It was pretty awful, but at least he’ll never have to see any of these people again, not to mention Leah was totally won over by his bravery. I give the kid props, though, because he was a super good sport and didn't seem to have a mean bone in his body. As Zero concluded while sending Dave offstage, "Here's hoping the kid at least gets some action out of it." And that he did, ladies and gentleman. So alas, the story ends happily after all.